It’s a sad tragedy that has touched thousands of people here in Scripps Ranch, across the country, and around the world. A popular Scripps Ranch motocross racer crashed during a race in Florida and passed away.

Sixteen-year-old Christopher "Jantz" Grodzicki was riding in the 41st Annual Thor Winter Olympics in Alachua, Florida, on Friday, Nov. 23. He crashed headfirst, and even though he was wearing protective gear–a helmet and special neck brace–he suffered injuries that were too monumental to overcome.

Jantz died in a Florida hospital on Monday, Nov. 26, surrounded by family. His father, Chris, says that before he died, Jantz was able to communicate by blinking his eyes. Chris feels blessed that he was able to say goodbye.

Jantz, who was known by his number 96, started racing competitively when he was only 7 years old. The SRCA Newsletter included articles of his race wins when he was young. He was so advanced in his sport that he had sponsors and planned to go pro. He created his own website, [www.jantzgrodzicki.com], that followed his career.

When word of his tragic accident came out, a Facebook page was created that, as of press time, had more than 25, 000 likes and comments from friends and fans around the world. All spoke of not only his love for the sport but about his positive attitude and great character as a young man. There were heartfelt comments from his friends here in Scripps Ranch, and as far away as Australia. Jantz got to know people worldwide through his sport.

When he was hospitalized, about 300 people held a candlelight vigil in the Scripps Ranch Community Park to pray for his recovery. Unfortunately, his injuries were too severe, and he died two days later. At his memorial service in December, Jantz’ dad said there were about 1,200 people.

Jantz is survived by his dad, Chris, mom, Lisa, and 12-year-old sister, Jenna. In true Scripps Ranch spirit, the community has embraced the family.

Lisa and Chris say that in order to get through, they focus on what a special young man Jantz was and on keeping his legacy alive. While he had a remarkable career, Jantz was also known for his positive attitude and his depth of character. He made friends wherever he went.

To honor Jantz, the Grodzicki’s say they will start a foundation in his name. They hope to give awards young motocross racers who exhibit not only talent but the same qualities that made Jantz stand out in his sport.

The SRCA Newsletter offered Chris and Lisa the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings with the community. They said they would really like to and, hopefully, will have time to do so in the near future.

They wanted us to share how grateful they are to everyone who has shown their support in any way. People tell them they are not sure whether to stop by and talk with them, but the family welcomes visitors. They say the love and encouragement of friends, neighbors, and the community is helping them through this extremely difficult time.